I am a PhD student in mathematics, and I am just starting out writing my thesis. I would like a way to automatically keep track of the word count of my thesis, in such a way that I can plot and track my progress over time, but I have no idea how I would approach such a problem.

Ideally, the process of checking and storing the wordcount would happen automatically, and daily, and take only a little effort to set up.

Note: My thesis, like the vast majority of theses in mathematics, is being written using LaTeX, so any process would check either my .tex files, or the resulting .pdf

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    Mabe you should ask at tex.stackexchange.com. See e.g. tex.stackexchange.com/questions/534/… – FuzzyLeapfrog Feb 10 '17 at 1:34
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    Depending on your latex implementation there might be a word count package that you can use. Relevant: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/171853/… – scrappedcola Feb 10 '17 at 1:41
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    First, write a script that counts the number of words in a LaTeX document. Secondly, schedule this script to run daily (using crontab, for example) and append its output to a log file. – user2768 Feb 10 '17 at 9:41
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    I’m voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not specific to academia. It probably best fits on TeX - LaTeX since the word counting is the difficult part and automatising the rest is straightforward. Should you need an existing solution for this, this would be a question for Software Recommendations. – Wrzlprmft Feb 10 '17 at 10:10
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    @MarkB By that reasoning, literally anything that an academic does is on-topic. My life as a post-doc involves drinking coffee, for example. And I need get into work in the morning. One rule of thumb is that, if the exact same question could be asked by somebody outside academia, and receive the exact same answers, it probably isn't on-topic, here. – David Richerby Feb 10 '17 at 11:41

You could track changes with git, and push your commits to GitHub at the end of each day. GitHub produces a nice graph, which also includes stuff that's edited out instead of only words added. A bit overkill for a word counter, but good practice more generally.

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